2012 February

On February 29th, 2012, DAWN, WU, K8 AT THE 2012 WHITNEY BIENNIAL

Dawn Kasper, Murder At The Schindler House, 2003. Performance, Fritz Haeg's Sundown Salon, MAK Center, Schindler House, Los Angeles, 2003. Photograph by Karl Haendel

…are some of the old friends whose work I am especially jazzed to see at the show this year – just opening tonight – like Dawn Kasper‘s studio relocated to a gallery where she will work, nap, hang-out, receive the public, and generally occupy (who performed two of her “Evil Series” murder enactments at Sundown Salon events in 2003 – first at Salon #6 in the garden for Pipilotti Rist’s Instant Installations; and later at the Schindler House for Salon #9: Sundown @ Schindler); the installation and May 20th fashion show of K8 Hardy (who did a performance as the bobcat for Animal Estates #1 at the 2008 Biennial); and Wu Tsang’s Silver Platter room and Wildness feature film…plus plus plus eager for LaToya Ruby Frazier photos, Laura Poitras film, Charles Atlas sets, Oscar Tuazon installations, Michael Clark dances…


On February 28th, 2012, GREEN SPARKLES AND GREY FELT…

greys and greens for the cave's braided rug

…are two inexplicable piles of fabrics I’ve had sitting around here for years from past projects – and today they become the start of a second braided rug, this one responding to the ‘cave’ lower level of the house – all of greens and greys, of the gunite and poured concrete, stay tuned.



succulents enjoying the view

…were placed as little garden cuttings a few months ago in a 24″ diameter shallow glass disk – one of about fifty which I had designed and made for an event in New York many years ago – full of dirt with out thinking much about it….but today they are all spry and happy with their heads facing the indirect light and mountain view.

By Fritz Haeg on February 24, 2012 | plants
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On February 23rd, 2012, IN CONVERSATION AT CCA…

L.A. Convention Center

…for the Otis College of Art & Design’s Graduate Public Practice convention occupation program called Re/Locating Learning: Public Practices as Art at the College Art Association 100th Annual Conference housed in the very very dreadful Los Angeles Convention Center, a hostile  environment that could pretty much suck the humanity out of even the most earnest gesture – but there we were gathered in an intimate circle of 15 chairs on a bright red carpet in the corner – having a thoughtful talk with the students about engaged expansive social public practicy kinds of art, organized by Chair Suzanne Lacy with curator Sally Tallant, and artists Pablo Helguera and Sara Daleiden,  joined by writer Linda Weintraub.



weekly food cart gathering off Figueroa

…caught me off guard while doing some L.A. re-entry grocery shopping on the other side of the hill in Highland Park, exiting Figueroa Produce – my new favorite neighborhood market and go-to place when I miss the farmer’s markets – where I came upon a make-shift main street of various food makers, families making themselves at home on the asphalt for impromptu urban picnics, and smiling faces of Angelenos happy to have a temporary place to ‘walk’ down the ‘street’ for some ‘food’ with friends.


By Fritz Haeg on February 22, 2012 | food
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On February 21st, 2012, 110 NORTH L.A. RE-ENTRY ON AIRPORT BUS…

view of downtown LA framed through the LAX airport bus window

…is a typical return to town lately, delivering me to Union Station – the highlight of which is the vista of the city and mountains (if you’re lucky) from the top of the massive 105 to 110 interchange which then directs us north to downtown, dramatically framed in the bus window.

By Fritz Haeg on February 21, 2012 | Los Angeles, travel
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Can Altay in a lecture and workshop at the Princeton Student Colony

…(who I first met last year while spending some time in his hometown of Istanbul installing Edible Estate #11 at SALT Beyoglu where he actually donated part of his wood sculpture from the opening show to the garden for use as a planter) presented his provisional architectural installations, temporary social settings, urban political inquiries, and viral publications, which really resonated with us here in our base camp in the middle of a lawn on the Princeton University campus – and an interview with him will be included in our project publication to be released later in the year. (webpage)


On February 19th, 2012, THE ABRUZZIAN KITCHEN…

kitchen at the Museum of the People of Abruzzo

…on display at the the Museum of the People of Abruzzo – and historically found in the farmhouses dotting the local hills – will be of keen interest for the first edition (produced at Pollinaria in the spring) of a new series of projects dealing with the domestic interior.

By Fritz Haeg on February 19, 2012 | home
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LeApine Miele with a key resource book, the front door box where you can pick up a jar & leave your €, and Tulio with his hives

…is the homemade honey operation of Tulio who we visited this morning – a first possible collaborator in our as yet somewhat undefined but clearer by the day spring project – at his suburban Pescara residence located on the land where his father and grandfather cultivated the land, and raised cows, where he as a child worked in the fields, where now he lives with his wife Danila and five year old daughter Ema (who was prompted to greet me with ‘hello’), in a new house built over the cellar where the cows used to live, which is now home to the equipment, vats, hives, jars for his honey in many colors and consistencies, sold to local residents, neighbors, and those who can conveniently leave their Euro and pick up their jars from a box out the front door when he is away.



a typical Abruzzian agrarian scene from a museum diorama, and the snowy farm of Pollinaria today

…(the Museum of the People of Abruzzo) which engagingly presents the rich essence of Abruzzian domestic culture, the stories and related materials of how people have survived and created in this region for centuries, where I was especially captivated by the production of quotidian baskets, ricotta, olive oil, wheat, linens, clothing, and bread, made it the perfect first stop on my first day in town hosted by Pollinaria‘s Gaetano Carboni, while starting to get a sense of what form my spring project here might take – currently with the words ‘domestic landscapes’ in my head.


On February 16th, 2012, BUS FROM ROME TO PESCARA…

Montagne Maella viewed from the bus from Rome to Pescara

…took me from Tiburtina station (after landing at Fiumicino – followed by a quick detour to Piramide where I met with friends and collaborators about the upcoming Roma Mangia Roma book from Nero still in the editing process) – through the white mountains to this city on the Adriatic under a fluffy white blanket after weeks of record snow, which will be my home base for the next few days while snooping around for my upcoming spring residency and project at the nearby Pollinaria farm.

By Fritz Haeg on February 16, 2012 | Italy
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a thin layer of ice covers the toad mating ponds while they hibernate elsewhere

…(endangered Natterjack Toads) were created by some sensitive folks from the Port of Rotterdam and the Bureau Stadsnatuur Rotterdam to provide a place for these little creatures to mate in the summer, strangely surrounded by this extreme industrial landscape of one of the largest ports in the world, where we are driving around today gathering information and inspiration for the upcoming 9th edition of Animal Estates here later this year, commissioned by the Port and SKOR.


On February 14th, 2012, CHICKENS AT THE PORT…

a small car and house as chicken refuge

…accommodated in a cute little red wood house next to a half buried tiny car in a fenced-in pen surrounded by a vast post-human industrial landscape was a surprising/exciting thing to discover out the door of the Port of Rotterdam offices – where the kitchen ladies are tending them for the eggs, served to the workers.



with that evenings stew on in the background, J Morgan Puett talks about her work

…(who runs an amazing place called Mildred’s Lane where I spent a dreamy few days in the summer of 2010) joined us this afternoon in our cozy tent HQ pitched in the center of campus to talk about her work, collaboration, comportment, algorithms, hooshing, and generosity. (website)



My Barbarian’s Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater at Human Resources

…kicked off last night at LA’s Human Resources in Chinatown (where, despite the crowd, I managed to get real Doris Day parking – right at the front door) with an opening for the big exhibition of new work and videos plus an audience participation performance of ‘personification’ where about 15 spectators were pulled up on ‘stage,’ dressed in ‘My Barbarianesque’ stage attire, and instructed to pull a paper from a hat with a term to personify – first all at once and then one by one….revealing motivations such as ‘adjunct pedagogy,’ ‘Iran and Afghanistan,’ ‘Summer,’ ‘psychiatry,’ ‘success,’ and ‘condescension.’  (website)

Human Resources presents My Barbarian’s Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater, a residency in the form of a gallery installation that includes new videos, sculptures, and a performance environment.  The project highlights the paradoxes of an art practice founded in critique, which nonetheless relies on economic forces that are worthy of serious criticism.  In this time of spectacle and disparity, excess and poverty, the baroque figures as an ornate frame that contains all of these extremes.  My Barbarian performs a variety of styles within this frame; camp drag, baroque opera, communist drama, countercultural performance and world theater all accumulate into a set of narratives that assimilate too much information.  Enacting this accumulation, the group developed characters such as “Shakuntala DuBois” and “Cassandra Wasserstein Shakespeare,” masked figures who are trapped within cyclical forces they can foresee but cannot change.

By Fritz Haeg on February 12, 2012 | performance
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On February 11th, 2012, LUNCHEON ON THE NEW BLUE TABLE…

lunch in the dome on triangular modular table plus baby

…(a triangular modular system that can take just about any form you can imagine) in my dome organized by Francois Perrin this afternoon was an intimate kick-off for his upcoming LA-Paris program at the end of the year – events, activities and projects created collaboratively by artists & architects from the two cities – and today for soup, bread, beets, and a chocolate torte, included Linda Taalman, Frank Escher, Ravi Gunewardena, Oscar Tuazon, Dorothée Perret, Piero Golia, Eric Wesley, plus two little ones for whom I made a pretty great impromptu kiddie table.


On February 10th, 2012, LANDING IN LA…

a warehouse vs. mountain view headed towards LAX

…makes me very very happy these days, returning to home and the winter climate that allows me to garden in shorts…and today we are getting the mega-warehouse view as we bank south over downtown.

By Fritz Haeg on February 10, 2012 | travel
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the spaces and machines of Signal-Return Press

…established in 2010 by recent Portland Maine transplant friends whom I first met at Mildred’s Lane just before their momentous move west – is one of the more recent exciting indications of a new Detroit – a beautifully design storefront space that also functions as a place for events and exhibitions, currently featuring the work of Fluxus artist Alison Knowles. (website)

Signal–Return seeks to connect the community to traditional + emergent forms of printing as well as offer a resource for entrepreneurial artists + designers to produce for retail clients. Signal–Return is a creative enterprise at the intersection of art and commerce that combines the back-end production process with a front-end retail store and gallery. Intermingling academics, curation and preservation with apprenticeship, the venue will stand as a multi-use center for fine art, design, craft and literary arts. Our overarching goal is to create a hive for dynamic visual production. By tipping over the barrier that often separates print production from the public eye, process is here made apparent, from composing and proofing, to running an edition and clipping fresh prints to dry on a line. The collaborative spirit of Signal–Return will motivate participants to stretch their reach, as they expand their toolkits, vocabularies and means of production.


On February 8th, 2012, DETROIT’S POWER HOUSE…

winter scene at Power House Productions headquarters

…established in 2006 by extreme urban-adventure-seeking visionary revolutionary activist artist and architect duo Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert, headquartered in a gradually evolving powerhouse laboratory with veggie garden beds flanking a boat sculpture in front of pastel striped siding topped by a new system of passive/active solar roofing – spawned a whole city quarter (as yet unnamed) of like-minded activity, and was perhaps my most vivid mental image of the ‘new’ Detroit before arriving – where yesterday afternoon Gina graciously gathered a group of neighborhood artist colleagues, then retreating to their nearby storefront/home for tea, including old friend Jon Brumit (of Dflux and The 100$ House), Graem Whyte & Faina Lerman (of Popps Packing – ‘the ultimate laboratory for artists’ – plus the upcoming down-the-street Squash House, a special place for both the vegetable and the sport), Kate Daughdrill (of Detroit Soup and the upcoming Edible Hut), Scott Hocking (whose iconic images of, projects in, and use of materials from, the abandoned buildings of Detroit have become iconic), Zeb Smith, and Dutch visitor Erik Jutten, to help me get a sense of what exactly is going on in this town – and float ideas for the fall 2012 project plans that could possibly involve working with many local collaborative cultural collectives…(and if that wasn’t enough for one day, I earlier met Dabls at his museum; Jon Brumit and Katie McGowan at MOCAD, and later Steve Hughes, Carrie Dickason, and Jessica Frelinghuysen at Public Pool; and finally Leon Johnson and Megan O’Connell for a delicious loftmade dinner and tour of their new start-up press and gallery Signal-Return – now featuring an Alison Knowles show – in the warehouse meat-packing district of Eastern Market….whew – what a town of energetic folks!)

Neighborhood stabilization and revitalization through the arts and creative enterprises. PHP is an incorporated nonprofit whose mission is to develop and implement neighborhood stabilization strategies in a Detroit neighborhood near Hamtramck.  Our program focuses on integrating artists live/work spaces and using art and cultural resources to revitalize the neighborhood. Incorporated in 2009, PHP is a community-based non-profit organization with 501(c)(3).  We currently have two (2) main programs:
1)  Artist residency program – This program provides affordable housing for artists from across the world so they are able to develop long-term creative projects in the City of Detroit and contribute to Detroit’s revitalization
2) Neighborhood stabilization – This program incorporates a broad array of activities ranging from boarding up houses, to marketing vacant houses and creating live/work spaces for artists.



Olayami Dabls in front of his African Bead Museum

…was the first stop in the first hour of my first day in this really real, amazing/puzzling, invigorating/unnerving, fascinating/shocking, picturesque/grotesque town with a real ‘edge’ as they say, I have heard so much about but never seen (where I am giving a talk tomorrow at Wayne State University and spending some time teaching and doing projects next fall) – which was so appropriate, since Olayami Dabls’s museum and bead gallery, plus the collaboratively created facade murals, vacant lot installations, public stages, and elaborately decorated abandoned buildings (founded 1985, and in it’s current location since 1998) epitomize all that is amazing and unique about how artists are working expansively and collectively in this city today. (read Vince Carducci’s Motown Art Review for local insights and check out Dabl’s website for more info)